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Tesco considers shelving BIM mandate

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Construction News understands Tesco is considering dropping plans to demand building information modelling (BIM) across its new build construction projects

Several sources told sister title Construction News that the retailer is considering the move with a final decision expected to be made in the next six months.

The retailer has undergone an analysis of the value of mandating BIM and has already been using BIM on some new projects with contractors including Barr Construction.

It is believed BIM will continue to be used as a value engineering tool through the retailer’s supply chain, but that Tesco may now shy away from demanding BIM on all new stores.

One retail BIM expert said that the move would be a ‘phenomenal decision’ given the benefits to construction.

However another source added: ‘Personally, it doesn’t surprise me given the repeat nature of their programmed activity and detailing and the speed of the 2D design work undertaken by their design teams.’

When asked by CN whether it had decided not to mandate BIM on new construction projects, a spokesperson said: ‘BIM is a key development in construction and Tesco is currently evaluating its potential for future use in our construction processes.

‘Tesco continues to collaborate with contractors and suppliers to share ideas and thinking around the benefits that can be realised from BIM.’

A Tesco spokesman told CN in June: ‘We believe that Building Information Modelling will play a key role in the future of the industry and we are currently exploring the options for Tesco with our supply base.’

Major retail stores to have used BIM include Marks and Spencer who have employed BIM experts on its biggest store for a decade, the 14,000m² outlet at Cheshire Oaks which opened earlier this year.

BIM was employed on the store to overcome the complex design of the roof with more than 1,000 tonnes of structural steelwork used on the building.

ASDA has also championed BIM and mandates it across new-build stores with outlets at Melksham and Gorseinon among those to utilise modelling to save programme time and cost.

The UK subsidiary of US retail giant Wal-Mart, claims to have cut fees and programme times by up to half through working with BIM and the company is building a digital asset base of its UK stores through collecting data.

Further retailers including Morrisons are believed to be looking at the potential for mandating the use of BIM on its new build stores.

In the commercial sector, Laing O’Rourke has credited its use of BIM as a main catalyst for being named main contractor on British Land’s 47-storey Leadenhall Building.

The company reportedly modelled the building almost 40 times under its tender process and that is believed to have persuaded British Land to award them the position of main contractor in August. 

Laing O’Rourke is attempting to implement BIM across all projects by 2010 and as part of its strategic relationship with Oxford University, the contractor is supporting research into BIM under plans to adopt a 7D model (3D geometry, time, cost, lessons learned, and lifecycle).

Speaking at a CN and Autodesk roundtable, Cabinet Office head of BIM implementation David Philp said: ‘There is a need for industry reform with the govt BIM strategy and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for change.

‘From a government point of view we will set targets but we won’t tell people how to do it.’

The Institution of Civil Engineers will hold a 2011 BIM conference next Wednesday with more than 200 construction industry leaders set to attend. Details of the names on the Cabinet’s BIM working group are also set to be unveiled.

Meanwhile a new survey of more than 300 RICS members has revealed a poor take-up of BIM with less than 5 per cent indicating any frequent use.

Almost one in three of the responses from the quantity surveying and construction professional group said they saw no benefit in BIM for their organisations.

Just over 20 per cent of respondents said they had worked on projects where BIM was used within the last 12 months.

Just 10 per cent of quantity surveyors and 3 per cent of building surveyors said they were using BIM regularly. Barriers to implementation cited include a lack of client demand, training and standards.

When asked how much Tier 1 contractors can benefit financially from BIM, 42 per cent said ‘greatly’ or more than average while of the respondents who have used BIM regularly over the past year, 61 per cent gave the same answer.

However, the results for specialist contractors showed that just 38 per cent (53 per cent of BIM users) would have an above average financial gain to using BIM.

RICS quantity surveying and construction professional group chairman David Bucknall said: ‘The survey confirms the lack of awareness among members and highlights that many members would value BIM guidance and training. RICS is gearing up to provide this very soon.’


The RICS 2011 Building Information Modelling Survey found:

For quantity surveyors using BIM, the most frequent use is for construction scheduling (14 per cent).

Just 4 per cent of QSs and 1 per cent of building surveyors invest regularly in BIM training

10 per cent of QSs and 6 per cent of BSs are actively assessing BIM tools with a view to adopting BIM

More than 20 per cent of respondents said they had worked on projects where BIM was used within the last 12 months.

On over half of BIM projects, the client requested its use, and a third of the clients intended to use BIM after handover.

Two thirds of respondents said that implementing BIM requires a substantial investment in training.



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